Tag Archives: christmas

It’s A Wonderful Life.

Photobucket “No man is a failure who has friends.”

Merry Christmas, friends.


We Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.


When Nate and I decided to take this trip to Rome, we didn’t have any idea of what our Christmas day plans would be… at that point, I think it was enough for us to just imagine ourselves in Rome on Christmas. About a month ago, Nate’s father suggested to him that, since we were going to be in the motherland of Catholicism, it may be interesting to try to attend the midnight mass in Vatican City on Christmas Eve. I started looking into it, and not only were we arriving in Rome too late on the 24th to attend the service, but tickets to the service were sold out. As I was researching, however, I discovered that there was also a papal blessing at noon on Christmas day that was outdoors in St. Peter’s Square and didn’t require tickets, and it was at this point that I said “Eureka!” with my index finger pointed enthusiastically in the air.


On Christmas day, we ambled around at the Colosseum for a couple hours (for free, too! Merry Christmas to us) before heading to the square. We arrived more than an hour before the blessing was scheduled to begin, and there were already thousands of people there. As the 12:00 hour drew closer, even more people started flowing into the square, and a great parade (although ‘parade’ probably isn’t the right word, as it was very serious) of what I presume were Roman military men, dressed in what I presume was traditional Roman military garb, began marching toward the front of St. Peter’s Basilica. There was a great deal of pomp and circumstance.

When the Holy Father arrived on the scene, everyone was ecstatic, to say the least. He appeared in a window in the center of the basilica and sat down in a very ornate chair before he began reciting his Christmas address from a massive book whose pages were diligently turned for him by an underling. It was all in Italian (or maybe it was Latin? It’s all Greek to me, har har), but it sounded really lovely.

Once he had finished his address, he proceeded to say Merry Christmas and God Bless You in nearly every language imaginable: Portuguese, Romanian, French, Vietnamese, Icelandic, Spanish, Japanese, Afrikaans, and that’s just to name a few. It was incredible. And every time he spoke in the language of someone present in the crowd, they would cheer loudly, and the Pope would pause and smile and lift his hand to acknowledge them in a wave. He seemed like such a sweet, good-natured old guy. Once he was done, he stood and waved to the crowds and slowly receded back into the basilica, and the bells rang and rang and rang.


I’m not Catholic, but being blessed by the Pope was a really magical experience that I won’t soon forget. Since I’ve been in Europe, there have been several instances where I’ve been absolutely dumbfounded at the incredible things I’m able to experience, and this was definitely one of those times. All of which is to say: it was amazing, and five million points to Nate’s father for planting the seed in our heads to make this experience happen.

Playing Catch Up.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

YOU GUYS. The past ten days have been an exhausting whirlwind of non-stop motion and now that the dust is finally settling and I’m getting back into the routine of normal life again, thinking about all of the things I want to share is downright dizzying. I’m coming off of the best, most wonderful, most action-packed vacation of my twenty four years, and I don’t even know where to begin. But here, I’ll give you a brief primer: my newly appointed boyfriend and I spent four days in Rome, including Christmas day, and we returned to Amsterdam for less than ten hours before setting out again for London, where we spent three days, including New Year’s Eve. The word ‘epic’ doesn’t begin to describe the experience, but it’s the only word in my vernacular that even approaches it. And call me a braggart, but I want to relive the entire week on my blog, in excruciating, photo-heavy detail!

And so, I hereby declare this week Catch Up To The Present Week. I’m in the process of culling more than one thousand photos that I took during those seven days, so I’ll be posting those as I finish editing them; but in addition to tons of photos, I’ll also be recounting my afternoon hanging with the Holy Father on Christmas Day and the Pretty Woman moment I had in a Prada store, sharing a video of a starling murmuration over a piazza and details from the most badass edition of my favorite Shakespearean tragedy, and convincing you that no city in the world has, or will ever have, a better New Year’s Eve fireworks display than London.

All of which is to say: there is much to look forward to this week.

Today’s Letters.

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Dear Netflix and Hulu, the fact that your websites don’t stream video outside the United States is making it much more difficult than it should be to keep up with my television shows. Thanks for nothing.

Dear Zooey Deschanel, I’ve given The New Girl a chance, and I’m sorry, but the show is almost unwatchable. Your hair always looks really nice, though.

Dear Housecats, please stop shitting in the children’s beds. I beg of you.

Dear Nutella, I’m downright ashamed that my fellow Americans have failed to realize how wonderful you truly are. Rest assured, you have a fan in me for life.

Dear Nowak, I’ve discovered the Dutch equivalent to Man Pies, but nothing compares to the original. I demand that we rendezvous in Bellingham when I return to share a pie.

Dear Skype technology, I have so much respect and admiration for what you do and for the way you allow me to stay connected with the people I love overseas, but could you allow me to stay connected for more than 20 minutes before dropping the call?

Dear Nate, 10 days. I can scarcely breathe from the excitement.

Dear the Pope, I’m looking forward to your blessing on Christmas.

i love that my boyfriend has a 7-year-old sister.


because that means i can buy her a kickass barbie for christmas that is both a princess and a fairy.